Three Courses in One Pot? You Must be Cocido-ing Me…

Cocido Madrileno

Many of European countries have a one-pot dish into which odds and ends of the beast and various cheap vegetables are thrown, and cooked until all components sit fall-apart tender in a rich broth. Examples include Lancashire hot-pot in the UK, the famed French pot-au-feu, and the various cocidos of Spain.

Depending on where you’re eating one of these stews, you may find it all served together – the pot placed in the middle of the table for diners to dip a ladle into and fish for the tastiest morsels – or in a series of courses beginning with a soup course of the broth (caldo), followed by a vegetable course, and finally the meat.

With the long-awaited advent of spring, we realized that our opportunities for making such a dish were melting away with the last rimes of dirty snow. So, armed with a foot of fresh morcilla found at the (ultimately rather disappointing) Essex Street Market, a pound of dried chickpeas, and several large slabs of pork belly (courtesy of the very magnificent Mitsuwa Japanese supermarket in Edgewater, NJ), we decided it was now or not until the fall.

Everything we’d read suggested making cocido took both a long time and wasn’t easy. Happily, neither of these proved to be entirely true, and if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare one weekend, you can, with minimal preparation, make yourself a wonderfully flavorful three-course meal for 6 people without even breaking a sweat.

Cocido Madrileno

Though research suggests it doesn’t conform exactly to a typical Cocido Madrileño, this preparation closely resembles the cocido we ate in Madrid last year, and, ingredient-wise, is very similar to an Asturian-style Cocido Montañes with the exception of using chickpeas (garbanzos) instead of white beans.

For us, in spite all the porky deliciousness of the meats, the broth was the best part of this dish. It was incredibly delicious and was so infused with the flavors of all the ingredients that it was impossible, even in taking a small bit of each meat and vegetable in a mouthful, to get the same flavor.

Ultimately, the best thing about this cocido was not just the great satisfaction derived from a simple, peasant dish, but that it made us feel oddly wistful about the departure of winter. A feeling we did not anticipate at all.

Cocido Madrileno

Cocido Madrileño/Montañes (serves 4-6)

  • 2 pints (1liter) good chicken stock
  • 2 pints (1liter)cold water
  • 1lb (1/2kilo) pork belly, cut into 4 large pieces
  • 2 pigs feet (trotters) cut into pieces
  • 1lb dry chickpeas
  • 2 large chorizo
  • 8inches (20cm) or 2 large links morcilla (blood sausage)
  • 4oz (250g) smoked bacon
  • 1 large onion, studded liberally with cloves
  • 1 head garlic, sliced in half
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2inch lumps
  • 1/2 head of savoy cabbage
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 5 large sprigs flat leaf parsley bound with twine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1/2lb vermicelli (fideos)


  1. Soak chickpeas (garbanzos) in plenty of cold water for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight
  2. Drain and reserve
  3. Brown meat on all sides, using a tbsp of olive oil if necessary
  4. Remove chorizo to a plate and add stock, water, bay, peppercorns, bacon, parsley, onion & garlic to other meats in a pot large enough to accommodate all your ingredients
  5. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Wrap chickpeas in cheesecloth, secure with kitchen twine and add to pot.
  7. Introduce chorizo to pot at this time, bring back to a boil, and simmer for another hour.
  8. Add potatoes, carrots and cabbage to pot and simmer for another 1/2 hour.
  9. Cocido is basically done at this point. Check for seasoning and correct if necessary.
  10. With a slotted spoon, remove everything from pot and place in a dish in a warm oven.
  11. Skim fat off broth before bringing it to a boil
  12. Break vermicelli into 1-2inch (2-4cm) pieces and add to broth.
  13. Boil for 4-6 minutes or until al dente
  14. Serve noodle broth as first course.
  15. Plate other components (after removing chickpeas from cheesecloth bag) and enjoy with a large glass of spicy Ribero del Duero.
  16. Rub extended belly and take well-earned nap (optional).

Cocido Madrileno

32 thoughts on “Three Courses in One Pot? You Must be Cocido-ing Me…

  1. This was the first meal my senora cooked for me when I arrived in Sevilla. Unlike most other figets, I like morcilla. It is nothing in comparison to chinese blood tofu, which has an indescribable texture, neither elastic nor brittle.

    I love how cozy Cocido makes you feel. I’m not sure if they do this in Madrid, but in Sevilla they have the mesa camilla, a heater that is hidden under the dinner table. You tuck you legs under the mantel and the bottom half of you is warmed; the top half by eating this cocido. My roommate liked it so much so that I found her passed out under the table after a heavy night of drinking. In her inebriated lucidity she crawled under the table in seek of warmth.

    I dragged her back to the room.

    Ahhh…. I love how many memories this in inspires…

  2. just gorgeous x eleventy million
    i love this

    but i need to tell you something and please don’t think less of me… but – ummm… i’ve never eaten blood sausage. ever. not that i wouldn’t – i just haven’t. yet.

  3. This looks great! This got me thinking –Many Asian cultures do the same thing, but opposite. They cook each item individually at the table in the hot pot and then drink the broth. Either way, sounds delicious, and a lovely send off to spring.

  4. I love this kind of- one pot yielding many delicious things- cooking, I believe you about the broth, enriched with all those flavours, GOOD.
    I love the cheesecloth and twine notes, all very authentic.
    SS was right about the little carrot soldiers standing to attention, made me smile.
    next up Bollito misto – please !

  5. I love everything about this (well, maybe not pig’s feet, no matter how dismantled they may be), and will definitely give it a try. I bet that broth is absolutely wonderful–eveything looks delicious!

  6. Jenni – i just did a double-take. on first reading I thought you’d said “like a constructed and decomposed stew”! ha!
    Rachel – the cheese cloth is not only authentic but very practical too. without it you’d be chasing rogue chickpeas around the pot for ages! bollito misto is definitely next, but I think we’ll be waiting until the autumn for that. not only are we anticipating spring, but our waistlines can’t cope with another meaty, boiled dinner just yet!
    Stacey – glad you like the decoration. it’s tough to make a boiled dinner look good so I just played with it until it looked silly, if not beautiful!
    unconfidential – actually, while we could have eaten them, by the time we pulled them out of the cocido at the end, there wasn’t much left of the pig’s feet, so we didn’t eat them.
    Claudia – you know us here, we’re not judgmental. okay, we are judgmental, but since your intentions are to eat blood sausage, we’ll grant you a pass this time.
    Joan – we did the same – 2 courses. I understand that (presumably because of poverty) it used to be served in three courses so the belly could be filled with cheap broth and potatoes to make the expensive meat go further.
    katiek – good story. i’ve not heard of the mesa camilla, but i feel like it’s an invention i would enjoy drunk or sober.

  7. Really, you would ONLY make this in winter? Okay, I know a hot pot in the heat of summer wouldn’t be a great thing, but what about a rainy April day? It’s not as if this area is going to be terribly warm any time soon. I say screw the calendar and make what you want when you want it!

    Besides my love of the meats here, what really impresses me is that the vegetables still look edible. I often don’t like stews and long-cooking dishes with vegetables because I have never liked the resulting vegetable mush and the grainy bits of vegetables permeating the broth. This looks like everything held together in shape, texture and color!

  8. You are such fantastic Ambassadors of Spanish Cuisine chicos!!! Hope you are not too mad with me. I know I have not behaved very nicely lately… haven’t been visiting much… but I got some nice news for you that will reveal in a couple of days or so… looking for your forgiveness ;D

    Meanwhile, I would love you could participate in my brand new event…. please?????

    That cocido is to die for 😀

  9. Anything that would make me feel whistful about the departure of winter is a downright miracle at this point 🙂

    What a great dish, though… I’m thinking this is something we’ll have to try. Bet all the flavors were fantastico together.

  10. This dish makes me think of what I would expect after working in the back 40 for the day. It would be worth all the hard work just to see this dish on the table.

  11. interesting dish! I had not heard of it before. and you remind me that I have to head to that japanese market over in Ft. Lee one of these days…

  12. Speaking of “porky deliciousness,” my Polish fishing buddies have a very simple one-pot camping meal that is seriously porcine. They call it The Vat: pork chops browned in olive oil, sliced onions and chopped kielbasa added for several minutes of saute, then the whole kaboodle covered with a pound of kraut and left to slow-cook while you throw a couple evening dry flies to rising trout. It’s done when the pork is fall off the bone. Mmmnnnnn. That’s one-pot camp cooking!

  13. Now THAT is something right up my alley! We have a favorite restaurant that used to make something similar but they no longer have it — so thanks for the reminder! I’ll put it on the list for next week because it’s going to be cold and rainy so this will be perfect 🙂

  14. First of all, sorry about my English as It’s not good at all!!! ^_^
    I love your page and I wanted to add some information for this recipe.
    Cocido Montañes is a dish from Cantabria, a small province close to Asturias.We add whitte kidney beans, as you said. But when we cook it with chickpeas we prepare 3 dishes:
    -1st: soup (as you did)
    -2nd: Chickpeas and vegetables and chorizo, morcilla. (as you also did)
    -3rd: we cooked tomato sauce with paprika and onions and add the meat we have used to cook the chickpeas. We add 2 or 3 boiled eggs cutted into halves. You can see the picture here:
    I love eating legumes, at home we have it at least 4 times a week!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Beatriz for your wonderful comment. We love when people from the country of some of the dishes we make tell us what is good (and bad/wrong!) about our dishes. we really strive to be as authentic as possible, so thank you for telling us about the delicious-looking 3rd dish we clearly missed out on during our travels. Your english is very, very good and we really appreciate your comment. Please come by again – we have many, many spanish dishes on this blog because we love spain.

      muchas gracias, beatriz.

      amy and jonny 🙂

  15. Alas, in NorCal stew time has ended; it was 80 degrees yesterday. We gave winter its curtain call with a similar dish, the Portuguese caldo verde, which has lots of dark green cabbage in a chiffonade to go with all that porky goodness…

Like this post? Hate this post? Let us know!